How to Make a Homemade Roof Rack Kayak Roller Carrier

by Charles Clay
Loading a kayak onto a roof rack is much easier with a good roller system.

Loading a kayak onto a roof rack is much easier with a good roller system.

Most kayaks can be hauled by simply strapping them to the roof rack of an SUV or station wagon. However, loading the kayak onto the roof can be difficult for one person, and is often hard on both the roof of the car and the hull of the kayak. A great deal of effort and abrasion can be avoided with a simple roller system.

1. Remove the rear roof rack from your vehicle following the manufacturer's instructions. Remove the support strut from one side of the rack.

2. Slide the PVC conduit onto the roof rack's bar. Make sure the conduit is short enough to rotate freely when the strut is replaced. If it is too long, it can be cut to size using a hacksaw.

3. Wrap the pipe in an insulating foam sleeve. Secure the sleeve with plastic zip-ties every few inches along the length of the sleeve. Trim the ends of the zip-ties using scissors or a utility knife.

4. Wrap the entire sleeve in electrical tape, overlapping slightly with each turn.

5. Reattach the support strut and reattach your roof rack, following the manufacturer's instructions.

6. Repeat the procedure on the front roof rack bar.

Items you will need

  • PVC conduit, slightly larger than the diameter of your roof rack bars
  • Pipe insulation sleeve
  • Plastic zip-ties
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Electrical tape


  • The ends of the electrical tape can be sealed using a tape edge sealer to prevent them from fraying or coming loose over time.


  • Do not take the rack off your vehicle without having access to the manufacturer's instructions. An improperly attached rack could fail dangerously while in transit.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images